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College of Medicine

University of Malawi


The College of Medicine (CoM), University of Malawi, is the only medical school in the country. Established in 1991, it began to teach medical doctors in a British undergraduate curriculum offering a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree. The college has since expanded to include other biomedical science disciplines such as laboratory sciences, pharmacy and physical therapy. The college has also increased its postgraduate courses, including its masters in public health (MPH), masters in medical education (MMed) and various PhD programmes. The CoM has distinguished itself as an initiator as well as a destination of high class research on a variety of health issues not only affecting in sub Saharan Africa, but also globally. The Social Innovation in Health Initiative in Malawi will be based in the Department of Community Health, the largest unit within the CoM, which has thriving research spanning reproductive health, health systems and financing, communicable and non-communicable diseases.


Don is a medical doctor and epidemiologist with broad research interests in infectious diseases. He is an Associate Professor in Public Health at the College of Medicine University of Malawi. He is also Director at the Malaria Alert Center, a regional resource center specializing in building capacity, through research, for scaling up effective health interventions.

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He started his career in public health by working as District Health Officer in Malawi and over the last 20 years he has conducted research aimed at understanding the best methods for reducing childhood morbidity and mortality. As the winner of the 2012 Kenneth Warren Prize, he is a recognized Cochrane Review author who recently was appointed as a key mentor for African researchers interested in systematic reviews by the South African Cochrane Centre. Based on his work and interest in evidence based health care, Don is on several World Health Organization efficacy groups which include: the IPTp and LLINs Evidence Review Groups and the Monitoring and Evaluation Review Group (MERG). He also serves as an expert on the Global Fund Technical Review Panel.

Atupele is a public health specialist and an epidemiologist at the Malaria Alert Centre, a research affiliate at the University of Malawi College of Medicine. Following her completion of PhD training in Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, she is based full time in Malawi conducting research. Her research focuses on Malaria, HIV and maternal and child health.

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She has been involved in large studies in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and reputable national and international institutions including a large four years WHO funded PMTCT cluster-randomized clinical trial as a co-investigator evaluating several PMTCT care models aimed at improving uptake, retention and health outcomes for mothers and infants in PMTCT option B+ programme in Malawi. She was awarded a CIPHER grant by International Aids Society to conduct a pharmaco-vigilance study to evaluate safety in infants exposed to antiretroviral drugs through breastmilk given to mothers during breastfeeding in the PMTCT Option B+ programme in Malawi. Having previously worked as a district health officer in the second-largest district in Malawi for 3 years, she continues working and collaborating with the public health sectorto improve implementation of health programmes in Malawi.


Atupele is also working to advance health research in Malawi especially among women and youth. She pioneered establishment of “Women in Infectious Disease and Health Research Network in Malawi (WIDREM)”, a national network for advancement of research careers for women involved in health research with funding from WHO-TDR. She is an honorary faculty member in the Community Health Department at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine teaching and supervising postgraduate and undergraduate medical and allied health sciences students.

Barwani Msiska has over seven years’ experience in coordinating development programs, health systems strengthening for adolescent and reproductive health/ family planning programs in the public sector and academia settings in Malawi and USA. She has led efforts in repositioning adolescent reproductive health as a key pathway to managing development and the development of the costed multi-sectoral five-year National Youth Friendly Health Services Strategy 2015-2020.

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She has experience in project start-up and localization of initiatives such as the Malawi’s family planning 2020 commitments that aim to increase contraceptive prevalence rate to 60% by 2020 which resulted in a higher family planning budget line within the national health budget and increased local solutions for expanded access to long acting reversible contraceptives during the 2013-2015 budget periods. She has conducted health systems and implementation science research on youth friendly health services, long acting reversible contraception in Malawi and Immediate Postpartum Long Acting Reversible Contraception Programs in Georgia, USA facilitating adapting of best practices by other states and hospitals across the USA.

VINCENT JUMBE, SIHI Malawi Researcher

Vincent Jumbe is a Lecturer in the Department of Health Systems and Policy under the school of Public Health and Family Medicine at College of Medicine, the University of Malawi. He is a health social scientist with firm academic grounding in the areas of Public Health, Bioethics (at masters’ level) and Global Health focusing on Health Systems and Policy at PhD level.

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His current research efforts focus on HIV prevention among key populations which include People Living with HIV, female sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men and Transgender persons. He is also interested in Malaria and TB prevention research. Apart from lecturing, conducting research and interfacing with policy makers, Vincent is also a Course Director for the Master of Science in Global Health Implementation (Msc-GHI) being offered at College of Medicine, Department of Health Systems and Policy. His current interest is to map pathways from incubation to uptake of social innovations in the health system and how these innovations are or ought to be sustained over time.


The University of Malawi’s goal is to catalyse more social innovation amongst Malawian nationals. The University has supported research in social innovation projects but have not yet played the role of bringing together all the different stakeholders in the health landscape. It is thus proposed to establish a national country hub for social innovation within the College of Medicine’s School of Public Health. Participating in this inter- institutional collaboration will assist the School of Public Health to strengthen their institutional capacity and knowledge as a social innovation catalyst. The Malawi Country Hub will be established at the University of Malawi’s School of Public Health. This Hub will have three main aims for 2017: 1) Engage the Malawian health community to encourage broader participation in social innovation; 2) Act as a platform to share and disseminate social innovation examples, research, literature and learning; and 3) Identify country priorities for social innovation and develop a feasible research agenda.


Two academics from the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine will be trained in the concepts of social innovation in health. The rationale behind this is to develop a small critical mass with the College of Medicine’s School of Public Health that would eventually drive the agenda for social innovation and help with introducing the concept in Malawi. Two Malawians will participate in a partner introductory workshop on social innovation at LSHTM to prepare them for task of introducing the concept in Malawi.


In return, the University of Malawi will share their experiences gained in implementing activities related to the country hub with the other partners during the quarterly learning exchange sessions. All efforts will be taken to also foster new relationships with other faculties or departments in support of social innovation.


The Malawi Country Hub will start by launching an innovation identification process. Although Malawi has several social innovation projects in action, there is very little understanding of the social innovation programmes and their impact on health improvement. The University of Malawi will spearhead a systematic structure for the identification of present and future social innovation programmes.


Identified solutions will be put through a review and selection process. Selected solutions will be entered into a national social innovation repository. These projects or programmes will be made available to public health students to conduct case study research. The hub will work with TDR to identify opportunities to conduct in-depth case studies in Malawi.


The University of Malawi’s College of Medicine will establish a national, cross-sectoral social innovation country hub. The Hub will engage a range of health systems actors to broaded participation and contribution to social innovation in health in Malawi. It will support social innovation research capacity and will act as a platform to share and disseminate  social innovation examples, research, literature and learning.  be engaged in the development of the partnership management structure as well as develop an active fundraising strategy and pursue new funding opportunities to foster sustainability.


Following the establishment of the innovation repository, the Malawi Country Hub will host workshops on social innovation inclusive of all actors, initiators and users of social innovations across 3 areas in Malawi (Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu).

“Although the culture of using social innovation within the context of solving Malawian health problems by Malawians themselves is not well entrenched, there is need to stimulate this culture and create an environment that will enable and capacitate more Malawians to become active innovators. Hence the goal of the Malawi hub is that by the end of 2017, Malawi will have established the social innovation in health hub and gained the confidence, knowledge and skills to further research efforts and also extend the partnership by mentoring other regional universities interested in social innovation.”